Meaning and Origin for the Surname "Cook"

little boy cooking
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As it sounds, the Cook surname is an English occupational name for a cook, a man who sold cooked meats, or the keeper of an eating house. The surname derives from the Old English coc, and Latin cocus, meaning "cook." The Cook surname could also be an Anglicized version of a surname with a similar sound or meaning, such as the German and Jewish surname Koch.

Cook is the 60th most popular surname in the United States and the 53rd most common surname in England.

Surname Origin: English

Alternate Surname Spellings: COOKE

Where Do People With the Cook Surname Live?

Most people with the Cook surname live in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand, and Canada, according to WorldNames PublicProfiler. There is an especially large number based on percentage of population in Saskatchewan, Canada. Within the United Kingdom, the greatest numbers are found in England, especially East Anglia. According to surname distribution data from Forebears, the Cook surname is also very common in the Cook Islands, where it ranks 8th, and Nauru, where it is the 16th most common surname.

Famous People with the Last Name Cook

  • James Cook - British navigator famous for discovering and charting New Zealand and Australia's Great Barrier Reef
  • Peter Cook - English actor and comedian
  • Tim Cook - Apple CEO
  • Robin Cook - British politician
  • Lemuel Cook - was one of the last verifiable surviving American Revolutionary War veterans
  • Orator F. Cook - American botanist
  • Will Marion Cook - African-American composer and violinist
  • Dane Cook - American stand-up comedian

Genealogy Resources for the Surname COOK

100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings
Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?

Cook DNA Surname Project
Over 600 group members belong to this Y-DNA surname project, working together to combine DNA testing with traditional genealogy research to sort out Cook ancestral lines. Includes individuals with Cook, Cooke, and Koch spellings.

Cook Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Cook family crest or coat of arms for the Cook surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted. 

Cook Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Cook surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Cook query.

FamilySearch - COOK Genealogy
Access over 8 million free historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Cook surname and its variations on this free genealogy website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

COOK Surname and Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Cook surname. In addition to joining a list, you can also browse or search the archives to explore over a decade of postings for the Cook surname. - COOK Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Cook.

The Cook Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the English surname Cook from the website of Genealogy Today.


Cottle, Basil. "Penguin Dictionary of Surnames." Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1967.

Menk, Lars. "A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames." Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2005.

Beider, Alexander. "A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia." Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2004.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. "A Dictionary of Surnames." New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. "Dictionary of American Family Names." New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Hoffman, William F. "Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings." Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society, 1993.

Rymut, Kazimierz. "Nazwiska Polakow." Wroclaw: Zaklad Narodowy im. Ossolinskich - Wydawnictwo, 1991.

Smith, Elsdon C. "American Surnames." Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "Meaning and Origin for the Surname "Cook"." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). Meaning and Origin for the Surname "Cook". Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "Meaning and Origin for the Surname "Cook"." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 8, 2023).